Berries, Pumpkins, Produce Galore at the Santa Cruz County Fair


Contact: Steve Stagnaro
Direct Line 408-354-5145

September 14, 2012

Along with giant pumpkins, there’s excitement in the Agriculture Horticulture department. The Fair Harvest Building is filled with entries and exhibits, besides being packed with children eager to eat carrots that are handed out. Department head, Gina Locatelli couldn’t be happier with this year’s outcome.

“The entries are up 20% from last year,” explains Locatelli who added “The giant pumpkins numbers have doubled with 24 entered this year.” The berry growers of the county also stepped up to donate a huge display of berries. Local produce growers have also increased their participation by 25%. From plate entries to an essay contest, growth can be across the board. Youth and senior organic entries have increased, and Locatelli predicts they will have exceeded the non-organic entries by next year.

This is all due to the fact that more people are becoming conscious about the food they eat. The idea of self-sufficient living has prompted the public to start growing its own food. Locatelli explained, “People want have control over growing healthy food. More and more people are growing their own food organically and even raising chickens.”

People who come to the Fair become inspired. They learn about growing fruits and vegetables and respond “I can do that.” Or they walk by the giant zucchinis and wonder “Why didn’t I submit mine?” Education is the main mission in the Agriculture Horticulture Department. Locatelli explains, “When they walk in here, they can’t help but learn something.”

The initial learning then sparks innovation in all ages. Vegetable scarecrows and decorated pumpkins are a showcase to highlight the creativity from participants. A wine barrel aquaponics system display, where the fish in the bottom provide nutrients for the vegetables growing on top, shows that participants’ innovation stems from the fact that they are becoming more knowledgeable about food production. 

The Harvest Building this year is full of learning opportunities about berries, honey, seeds, olive oil and spices. With this year’s success, we will have to wait and see what exciting additions will be made to this bounty of a harvest for next year.

The Santa Cruz County Fair will take place now through Sunday. More information and schedules can be found at


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